Audit: DOT shortchanges schools by not collecting fines

Posted April 5, 2012

— Public schools in North Carolina have lost at least $12 million in recent years because the state Department of Transportation hasn't collected fines on overweight trucks and lapsed insurance policies, according to an audit released Thursday.

Under state law, civil penalties assessed by the DOT for such violations go to local school districts.

State auditors said the DOT didn't review about $179 million in lapsed auto liability insurance policies dating to 1998. At least $7.3 million in fines were not collected.

Auditors couldn't determine whether any money was owed on the bulk of the policies because no one responded to the lapsed coverage notices issued by the state.

The auditors recommended that the agency tap into the Social Security database and other public records to determine if people are still driving after their insurance policies have lapsed and to take a more aggressive stance on collecting fines.

The DOT also failed to collect $4.8 million in fines assessed since 1997 on overweight trucks, according to the audit.

"I don't disagree with the findings in the audit," state Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mike Robertson said. "We've got to find a better way to do business."

 Audit: DOT shortchanges schools by not collecting fines

Tracking the money is complex and involves several agencies – the DOT, DMV and the Department of Public Safety, he said.

The DMV tracks expired insurances and the DOT collects the fines, but the DMV's computer system is outdated, making it "very difficult" to track the records.

"I can't continuously blame it on the computer system, but it is a very old, hard-to-pull information from system," he said.

Plans are being made to upgrade the system.

In the meantime, agencies say they're looking at how this happened and how they can collect the money owed to them.

"DOT is reacting exactly like every taxpayer would want any agency to react," state Auditor Beth Wood said. "That is, Yes, we have a problem, and here's what we're going to do to fix it."

Those involved say a report will be sent to Secretary of Transportation by May 1, outlining plans to address the issues and collect the money.


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  • 6869735 Apr 6, 2012

    ""I don't disagree with the findings in the audit," state Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Mike Robertson said. "We've got to find a better way to do business."

    This person also goes home early or doesn't even show on every Friday.

  • outhousecat Apr 6, 2012

    Enough of my money goes to the schools already. I try not to get tickets, but if I do I want my money to go to maintaining the roads. I don't have kids but I do drive. Taxpayers should be given a choice as to which incompetent agency gets our money.

  • beachboater Apr 6, 2012

    "What about Trayvon... And please remember that the top of he food chain, at all levels of govt, are elected by...you."

    Please tell me how Trayvon has anything, ANYTHING to do with this story about NC traffic fines not being collected?

    Why not just say it was Bush's fault.

  • Bendal1 Apr 6, 2012

    Keep beating that drum, pbjbeach. Maybe someone will one day listen to you.

    As for the "pathetic example", get real. Enforcement and regulation abilities of all state agencies have been cut and gutted by both Democrats and Republicans alike, making it very difficult for any agency to collect fines. I'm sure if auditors looked at agencies besides DMV they'd find similar uncollected amounts; DOT/DMV is just the low hanging fruit.

  • NCHighlander Apr 6, 2012

    "I do this with expired plates also since mine were ripped from my car by Cary PD and my passenger and I left on side of street at 1:30 AM... and I'm not talking I see one or two weeks expired but more like one or two YEARS. And on cars like Crossfires and Lexus models."

    Come on dude. I have a hunch you holding back a little info in your CPD abuse and abandonment story here.

  • driverkid3 Apr 6, 2012

    Just another pathetic, sorry example of how the democrats have messed this state up. I bet if someone did a thorough inspection of all the books, etc., this state would rank at the top of the list for corruption.

  • NCHighlander Apr 6, 2012

    "I can't continuously blame it on the computer system, but it is a very old, hard-to-pull information from system,"

    It sure looks like somebody was able to access the information, doesn't it?

  • pbjbeach Apr 6, 2012

    the autitors office needs to do an indepth investigation in to the funding an payments issues of indivsual contracts for road construction projects an conserate on the overruns an overpayments that are an have been allowed to be paid out to contracting enitys unjustifiably so as it pertains to indivsual line items with these highway contracts thank you

  • NCHighlander Apr 6, 2012

    When we're talking millions of dollars I for one want to see somebody fired and soon. To many times we see such incompetence go unpunished and that fosters the atmosphere we have with our state employees.
    If you can't loose your job you don't have to worry about doing your job.

  • pbjbeach Apr 6, 2012

    All thati have to say here is that the NCDOT is full of corruption waste fraud an it all goes back to the exective an upper levels of what is supposly mangament but which in fact is mis-mangament an politicians that just absoultely refuse to allow their subordinates the ability an authority to be allowed by mangament to actually perform their jobs dutys for the reasons of the protection of various enitys /special instrest groups within the ncdot that utlize their political clout to deny state employee thruogh politics their ability to actually perform their stated jobs dutys as stated within the states own personnel mannuals in which their jobs dutys are clearly laid out as to what their jobs dutys are . in which they are supposely to be charged with the functions of protecting the instrest of the taxpaying public along with the protection of taxpaying funding dollars from waste fraud an abusive spending practices within state government as their main objective. but due to the politici